New Mexico Lobos Football – On The Mountain West Road
Saturday: Boise State 45, New Mexico 17
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The Lobos came to the blue turf of Boise State looking to get some defensive stops. The Lobos got them and forced the high-octane Broncos’ offense to punt the ball six times.
But the biggest stop of the game came from the Boise State defense which stopped the Lobos on the Boise 1-yard line with the Broncos up 14-7.
The Lobos almost formed a 14-all tie with a first down on the Bronco 2-yard line. However, three rushes by Crusoe Gongbay and one by Clayton Mitchem netted only a single yard. The Broncos then marched 99 yards to take a 21-7 lead. It was a huge turnaround in fortunes and helped propel Boise State to its 45-17 Mountain West win.
"We really played better than what the points ended up being," said Lobo Coach Bob Davie. "I would like to brag on these kids on how hard they played. I don't know if I've ever brought a team into a game as beaten down physically as this football team is.
"These seniors will be forever remembered for what they've done for this program."
The Broncos might have won the game by 28 points, but the lean on the stat sheets wasn’t so bad. UNM won the time-of-possession battle 36:06 to 23:29 and tied Boise State in first downs 19-to-19. The Lobos had 362 yards in total offense and the Broncos had 432 yards.
The big difference was big plays. The Broncos made more of them. "The continuation of us making little mistakes that get exaggerated," said Davie of UNM's defensive mistakes being exploited by a talented offense.
"We need to make some schematic adjustments on defense. We never got it solved all season and I feel bad about that. We need to make some subtle changes on defense to give us a chance."
UNM ran for 300 yards and Boise threw for 260 yards. The Lobos had 62 yards passing and Boise State had 172 yards rushing. UNM ran 70 plays to 65 plays for the home team.
The Lobos lost two fumbles, but one came in the final minute of the game and did no real damage. The other miscue set up a Boise State score. Both teams were penalized three times: UNM for 20 yards and Boise State for 14 yards.
UNM’s Clayton Mitchem, who got the start over injured Cole Gautsche, went 9-of-13 passing for 52 yards. He ran for 66 yards before a hard tackle put him on the sidelines in the fourth quarter. Crusoe Gongbay had 77 yards on 12 carries and Teriyon Gipson had 76 yards on 10 carries.
Boise State's Grant Hedrick went 13-of-21 through the air for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Jay Ajayi of Boise led all rushers with 147 yards on 22 carries. Matt Miller hurt UNM with nine catches for 111 yards and three scores. Ajayi added 105 aerial yards on four grabs for a single touchdown.
UNM freshman Dakota Cox was credited with 13 tackles and senior Dallas Bollema had nine tackles.
The Lobos ended the season with a 3-9 overall mark and went 1-7 in the Mountain West with the lone win coming over Air Force. Boise State bumped its record to 8-4 and 6-2 in league play.
"There were a couple of turning points," said Davie. "We had the ball inside the three on first and goal and on four rushing plays didn't score. If Cole is in there, a big guy, we probably score."
Second Half: Boise State 24, New Mexico 10
The Lobos came out of the halftime down 21-7 and used a 42-yard field goal by Justus Adams to make it 21-10. The Broncos answered with an 18-yard touchdown by Jay Ajayi to make it 28-10.
That count carried into the fourth quarter with Boise State looking at a third-and-five at the New Mexico 24-yard line. The drive had started on the Broncos’ 12-yard line. UNM held on third down, but Boise went for it on fourth down and quarterback Grant Hedrick hit Matt Miller over the middle for a 24-yard scoring pass. UNM was down 35-10.
Clayton Mitchem led UNM on a drive that saw him leave the field after a 10-yard rush that put his team on the Boise State 36-yard line. David Vega took over the huddle for UNM. The Lobos went backwards on two running plays and took a timeout looking at a third-and-15 with 10:10 to play and down 25 points. Vega tried to hit Carlos Wiggins over the middle, but threw short and UNM had to punt.
The Lobos got a stop on defense, but the Boise State punt touched a Lobo and the Broncos recovered on the UNM 18-yard line. The Broncos scored two plays later to seal the win with a 13-yard pass from Hedrick to Miller. That put UNM down 42-10 with 7:31 to play.
Vega led UNM on a nice scoring drive that ended with Teriyon Gipson going over from 22 yards out. UNM was down 42-17. The Broncos almost ran the ensuing kickoff all the way, but David Anaya made a touchdown-saving tackle and Boise State eventually settled for a field goal that ended the scoring: 45-17.
First Half: Boise State 21, New Mexico 7
The score might have leaned toward the Broncos, but there was an impressive stat that favored the Lobos. Boise State had 47 yards rushing for only a 2.2-yard average on 21 attempts.
The Broncos edge came in passing. They had 169 yards completing 10-of-17 passes. UNM had 139 yards rushing and 164 total yards to 216 total yards for Boise State. The Lobos had the edge in time of possession: 17:45 to 12:15.
The Lobo defense did get some stops and Boise State had to punt four times as did the Lobos. The Broncos scored first on a 1-yard pass from Joe Southwick to Matt Miller. UNM force a 7-7 tie on an 18-yard burst by Crusoe Gongbay. The Broncos reached the board two more times: a 15-yard run by Devan Demas and a 29-yard pass from Grant Hedrick to Jay Ajayi.
The Lobos got a solid first half from Clayton Mitchem, who went 4-of-6 passing and was the leading rusher in the first half with 57 yards on nine carries. Gongbay had 31 yards on nine carries. Ajayi had 44 yards on 12 totes, but added 104 yards on three receptions including one for 64 yards.